Nyla “Nampeyo” Sahmie, member of the
Corn Clan, was born in 1954 into the Hopi Reservation.
She was taught the art of constructing Hopi pottery, using ancient traditional
methods, passed down to her from her mother, Priscilla Namingha-Nampeyo.
Nyla began experimenting with pottery at the age of 13.
She has continued this long lived family tradition just like her ancestors
have before her. Her goal is to become one of the finest potters ever
just like the famed Nampeyo. Nyla is a fifth generation of Nampeyo potters
currently working with clay.
Nyla specializes in hand coiled yellow-orange traditional pottery. She
gathers her clay, grinds it down, cleans the clay, mixes, hand coils,
sands, paints her designs, and fires the pottery, outdoors, with sheep
Her favorite patterns to paint are: migrations, double hummingbirds,
and flowers. She recently has begun to hand coiling very large olla
Nyla stated, “Making pottery has come naturally to me and I am
honored to be a member of one of the most famous Native American Family
She signs her pottery as: Nyla Nampeyo, followed by a corn symbol to
denote her Clan origin.
Nyla currently is working with children at local Elementary Schools
and High Schools in her area, educating the youth about the Hopi heritage
and culture. She does this so that the tradition of the Hopi ways of
life are continued and not forgotten.
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